Data | Heat wave in Punjab may curtail India’s wheat exports

Extreme levels of heat in Punjab and the accelerating local prices may potentially hurt India’s wheat export this year

April 22, 2022 05:57 pm | Updated 06:10 pm IST

Amritsar: A farmer in his wheat field in the, on the outskirts of Amritsar, Friday, March 27, 2020. (PTI Photo)(PTI27-03-2020_000161A)

Amritsar: A farmer in his wheat field in the, on the outskirts of Amritsar, Friday, March 27, 2020. (PTI Photo)(PTI27-03-2020_000161A) | Photo Credit: SHIVA SHARMA

At a time when India is looking to fill the world’s wheat granaries depleted by the Ukraine-Russia war, two new developments in Punjab may potentially reduce its export levels this year. Firstly, evidence from Punjab shows that the wheat arrivals in mandis have been 20% lower this year compared to 2021. The primary reason behind the reduction is the extreme levels of heat. The average temperature in April has been consistently above the 40°C mark across Punjab. This has reduced the wheat yield significantly this year. Secondly, the local prices of wheat and wheat flour are accelerating. These two factors may dampen India’s wheat export plans given that India may prioritise local availability of wheat while also aiming to cool down the market prices.

Wheat arrivals

| The chart shows the wheat arrivals in Punjab’s mandis in the first twenty days of the 2021 and 2022 seasons. In this period, 73 lakh metric tonnes of wheat have reached the mandis in 2022, 20% less than the 92.4 lakh recorded in 2021

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Rising prices

The chart shows the wholesale inflation of wheat and the consumer inflation of wheat flour in India. Wholesale inflation was over 14% and retail inflation was 7.77% in March 2022, both figures being the highest since April 2017

Heat map

The map shows the temperature anomaly across Punjab between April 8 and 14, compared to the long period average. In most places, the maximum temperature was over 6°C than the usual

Yield dips

Crop cutting experiments show that due to the extreme heat, the yield of wheat in the State has dipped this year. Last year, the wheat productivity was 19.7 quintal per acre, while the average yield this year is below 18 quintal per acre. However, of the 2,000 crop cutting experiments only 1,200 have been completed till date 

Source:  Punjab Mandi Board, MOSPI, IMD Chandigarh, Punjab Agriculture Department

Also read: Explained | Why is India looking to boost wheat exports?

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